In one look
- Solid build quality and comfortable feel
- Removable and rechargeable battery
- Classic design aesthetic with modern controller functionality
- Deep customization software
- Face layout looks like DualShock 4 controller on Xbox One
8BitDo’s first full-size controller is solidly built and comes bundled with great software to personalize your gaming experience.
The SN30 Pro + is 8BitDo’s first full-size gaming controller, building on an already solid experience of smaller-sized offerings. With the SN30 Pro +, 8BitDo retains classic Nintendo design cues and modern features found in other models, but offers robust PC software that allows for in-depth customization options.
At first glance, it looks like an SN30 Pro with handles, but its larger size makes it more comfortable for longer gaming sessions. And while the SN30 Pro + is the best pro controller option for the Nintendo Switch, it has tougher competition on the PC, which is where I’ll be focusing this review.
The SN30 Pro + is currently priced at $ 49 on Amazon and is available in three color configurations: Sn Edition (SNES color scheme), G Classic Edition (Gameboy), and Black Edition. It works on Windows 7 and above, macOS 10.7 and above, Android 4.0 and above, Steam, Nintendo Switch and Rasberry Pi. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect and charge the included battery via USB-C, but will switch to wired mode when it will be plugged in. The 1000mAh battery is also removable and can be replaced with AA batteries. Powering up and switching between input modes is the same as with previous 8BitDo controllers, as is pairing and reading the four LED indicators.
SN30 Pro + hardware
When laid next to each other, it is immediately evident that the SN30 Pro was the basis for the design of the SN30 Pro +. Although they are visually similar, the feel of each controller in the hand is completely different. The addition of grips on the SN30 Pro + changes the way the controller is placed in your hands, providing a more stable grip and more comfortable placement of the thumb on the controllers. The grips are thinner than the Xbox One controller, but still fit nicely in the palm. Overall, its size, weight, and layout are similar to the DualShock 4 controller.
The buttons and sticks on the front of the SN30 Pro + have changed slightly – we’re talking about sub-millimeter measurements – to leave a little more space between each input option. The analog sticks are just a little wider and the face buttons are slightly further away from the sticks, to name a few changes. It’s a fine little improvement, but welcome. As for the feel of the face buttons, d-pad, and thumb sticks, it’s almost identical to that of the SN30 Pro that came before it. The practical difference I could feel was that the d-pad is a bit more mushy, but it could be within the limits of manufacture and not an intentional change. The main input changes are the extended shoulder / trigger inputs.
The L and R buttons on the shoulders of the SN30 Pro + are placed as they would be on the SNES, and they feel great. They have just the right click and are more comfortable to use than the tapes of the SN30 Pro. The L2 and R2 triggers are now larger and offer analog motion with adjustable trigger sensitivity (more on that later). Once again, the SN30 Pro + triggers resemble the “paddles” of the DualShock 4 rather than the “gun-style” triggers of the Xbox One. The resistance on them is very nice and pleasant to use even in contraction games.
My only issue with the design is that the controller’s “face” is a little further away from me than I would prefer. This means my thumbs are resting well on the throttles, but should reach out a bit when I switch to the higher inputs like the X and Up button on the d-pad. This is a thing of preference, and maybe good for some, but I prefer the placement of the Xbox One controller inputs.
On top of that, the A and B buttons are swapped out relative to their layout for input X. I don’t look at my controller when I’m playing so it’s not really a problem at all, but visually it’s up to you. upside down and something to note.
Ultimate 8BitDo Software
Connecting the SN30 Pro + to a PC and installing the 8BitDo Ultimate software unlocks a host of new features that are not available on any other controller, let alone 8BitDo. Along with simple options like button remapping and vibration control, the Ultimate software offers adjustable control options on the sticks and triggers.
Think about how the Xbox One Elite controller features its hardware trigger locks, limiting trigger movement to half the length of the pull. On the SN30 Pro + this is a digital read rather than a physical one meaning I can have the trigger register as fully pulled out by only partially pulling it out. You can also change the point at which trigger pressure is recorded, eliminating false pressures. This can be done for each trigger and each controller individually, and offers limitless options to customize your playstyle.
For the most part, I left the triggers and sticks in the default position, but added a profile to the controller for shooters. In this profile, the left trigger registers full pull about halfway through, which means my gun rises faster to look down. I also have my left controller register fully enabled about halfway through, which means my character goes from standing to running faster in games where I don’t need to squeeze in or out. have finer control of movements outside of sight.
The last major feature to note is the ability to map macros. Macros can be assigned to buttons and activated by pressing Up on the d-pad and pressing Star (located to the left of the left stick). The setup is very easy to use and can be very convenient for those who need it.
After any changes you make in the Ultimate software, you must sync it with the controller before it takes effect. You also need to quit the software to make it usable on the PC again, which means you can’t open the app during your gaming session to change settings on the fly.
8BitDo’s first full-size controller comes with the Xbox One and DualShock 4 as a great option to use on the PC. It offers a similar build quality and reliable functions compared to the bigger players in the space, but it’s the Ultimate Software experience that sets it apart.
Choosing between the SN30 Pro + and the Xbox One controller depends on the size and button layout preference. But I would easily take the SN30 Pro + on a DualShock 4 on PC if you prefer the side-by-side stick layout. A laptop gamer could always look to the more portable offering of the SN30 Pro, which is a great option due to its size and full functionality.
8BitDo took a while to release the SN30 Pro + after announcing it at E3 2018, but having the Ultimate Software tool made this controller worth the wait. The hardware design continues to impress and the inclusion of a removable, rechargeable battery is the perfect way to further distinguish itself from other controller options. Whether playing modern games or emulating the classics, the SN30 Pro + comes highly recommended.